Act Now or Face the Consequences: A Climate Change Story

Exploring the devastating effects of climate change and the urgent need for action
Labadie Power Plant emits a mix of water vapor and CO2 into the atmosphere.
Labadie Power Plant emits a mix of water vapor and CO2 into the atmosphere.
Anthony Rey

The planet is on the brink of a catastrophe, and the time to act is now. Our future depends on our ability to take action against the ravages of climate change – a battle that we cannot afford to lose.

Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.11° Fahrenheit (0.06° Celsius) per decade since 1850, or about 2° F in total. This rise in the global temperature can lead to a handful of issues that will only get worse over time. The rate of climate change has been accelerating since 1978, and if this path continues we will see worse weather conditions and a dramatic rise in sea levels. This excess water comes from the melting of the glaciers and Greenland’s ice sheet. Carbon emissions are halfway to a tipping point after which 6 feet of sea level rise from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet would be unstoppable.

By 2050, sea level along contiguous U.S. coastlines could rise as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) above today’s waterline, according to researchers who analyzed nearly three decades of satellite observations. -Statistic from NASA.

— Sally Younger - NASA

The bigger threat to the rise in sea levels are major cities that sit along the shoreline like New York, and mainly the Manhattan district. This area is among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers, it’s the heart of “The Big Apple.” By 2040, the Lower Manhattan’s shoreline would begin to experience frequent tidal flooding from sea level rise. This will cause a crash in parts of the financial district with them being flooded and inaccessible.

Along with New York, we would lose parts of Florida as well. Key West, NaplesOrlando, and lower parts of Miami will be lost if the seas rise by just 1 meter (3 feet). If the sea levels rise at just half of this amount, these areas listed will experience devastating storm surges that are only made stronger by the stronger storms and hurricanes that will pummel the area.

One of the main causes of air pollution is coal-fueled power plants like Labadie Power Plant here in Labadie, Mo. This power plant reported 17 million tons of CO2 emitted in just 2021. That amount of weight amounts to 17 million individual passenger cars, or about 37 thousand individual International Space Stations. CO2 isn’t all bad for our environment since its needed to regulate respiration and control blood pH, but with to much of it we are contributing to a offset in our greenhouse gases natural balance. These gases aren’t an issue because they trap the sun’s heat allowing the earth to be warm and not always cold, but if the gas layer is to dense the heat will have trouble releasing before more is trapped which leads to the planet heating up and staying hot.

With that being said, what can we do about this? We can use less energy by lowering your heating and cooling, switching to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient electric appliances. Electronics, clothes, and other items we buy cause carbon emissions at each point in production, from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing and transporting goods to market. One main thing to help with is this buying more second-hand items. We don’t always need the new iPhone or the items you see on the TikTok Shop. Take the iPhone 14 Pro, for example. Apple says it emits 65 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during its lifecycle. Out of that, 81% is emitted during the production process.

As the world continues to grapple with the devastating effects of climate change, it is imperative that we take action now before it’s too late. We must work together to reduce our carbon footprint, protect our natural resources, and promote sustainable practices. Remember, the future of our planet is in our hands, and it’s up to us to ensure that future generations can inherit a healthy and vibrant Earth. Let’s make a commitment to change, and take the necessary steps towards a cleaner, greener future.

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About the Contributor
Anthony Rey
Anthony Rey, Reporter
Anthony Rey is a senior and this is his first year in publications. He transferred to LHS his sophomore year and has loved it ever since. He started getting involved in choir and sports once he knew he could. Now he is in the chamber choir and is a part of the track team; he loves to be involved and getting out there. His passion is technology and all things computer related.

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